News / Middle East

Dozens Killed as Wave of Violence Strikes Iraq

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a suicide car bomber plowed his vehicle into a checkpoint outside a police building just outside the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.
Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a suicide car bomber plowed his vehicle into a checkpoint outside a police building just outside the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

A series of explosions and attacks hit cities and towns across Iraq Monday, killing at least 63 people. It was the most violent day in the country in months.

Firefighters doused the smoldering wreckage of vehicles destroyed by several explosions in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf Monday. The explosions were part of a series of attacks across Iraq.

Iraqi army General Othman al Ghanami, who commands the central Euphrates military district, said that Monday's attacks did not come as a surprise:

He said that our intelligence led us to believe, after security briefings, that there would be widespread violence, especially since we're expecting [a pilgrimage] at the Imam Ali shrine which was no doubt a pretext for the explosions. He added that the developments can probably be attributed to al-Qaida elements present in the area.

Iraqi officials say back-to-back explosions in the southern town of Kut also left more than 30 dead and dozens wounded. A crowd of onlookers, along with rescue workers who arrived at the scene of the first explosion, were hit by the second, according to a local police commander:

He says that there was a double explosion, the first resulting from explosives placed in a vehicle near the scene, attracting a large crowd to see what happened, and those onlookers became victims of the second explosion.

Workers cleared the rubble from another explosion that damaged vehicles, homes and businesses in the Baghdad district of Zafaraniya. Several people were killed and more than several dozen were wounded.

In the north, police say multiple bombings in Diyala province killed at least eight people, while two separate blasts in Kirkuk killed one person and wounded 12 others.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, argues that the violence is a sign of tensions in the lead-up to the planned,  U.S. withdrawal from Iraq at the end of this year:

He said that the perpetrators of these attacks appear to be trying to send a message that if U.S. troops withdraw [at the end of this year], they will try to make strategic gains [against the government]. He argues that if al-Qaida is involved in these attacks, the next question would be which regional country is manipulating the group.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani condemned Monday's attacks, claiming that they were the result of “political paralysis” and the “unwillingness of political leaders to sit down together to resolve their differences.”

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid